Patriot games may await

Rick Devereux

Andy Stokes was the 255th and final pick of the NFL Draft by New

England, making the tight end from William Penn University Mr.

Irrelevant and the guest of honor of Irrelevant Week XXX in Southern

California, starting with the Arrival Party Monday at 5 p.m. at

Newport Dunes Resort.

Stokes is the latest historical figure for the Patriots'

franchise.

Boston businessman Billy Sullivan Jr. secured an American Football

League franchise in 1959 and, keeping with the New England heritage,

the nickname Patriots was selected by a panel of Boston sportswriters

in a contest to name the team.

The Boston team was involved in two significant firsts in 1960.

The Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills in the first AFL preseason

game on July 30. On September 9, the Patriots lost to the Denver

Broncos, 13-10, in the first AFL regular-season game.

Mike Holovak, who replaced Lou Saban midway into the 1961 season,

ranks as the winningest coach in team history with a 53-47-9 record.

His best season came in 1963, when the Patriots defeated Buffalo,

26-8, in a playoff for the AFL Eastern crown. In the AFL championship

game the next week, however, they lost to San Diego, 51-10.

Raymond Berry took over the coaching reins in 1984 and his 1985

team had an 11-5 record, earned a wild-card playoff berth and won

three straight AFC playoff games on the road and advanced to Super

Bowl XX. There, the Patriots lost to the Chicago Bears. That game

marked the final appearance of guard John Hannah, who in 1991 became

the first Patriot to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Pats chose Marty Moore, a linebacker from the University of

Kentucky, with the 222nd and final pick of the 1994 NFL Draft, making

Moore Mr. Irrelevant IXX.

With Bill Parcells in charge, the Patriots represented the AFC in

the Super Bowl in 1996.

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